Wed | Oct 28, 2020

The ideal man should be more than face and hot body

Published:Sunday | September 13, 2020 | 12:17 AMTamara Bailey - Sunday Gleaner writer

Shari-Ann Henry, policy and research analyst, law student and founder of Love Your Skin Appreciate Your Melanin.
Shari-Ann Henry, policy and research analyst, law student and founder of Love Your Skin Appreciate Your Melanin.

Last week,we kicked off the series ‘Single, Ready to Mingle ... But Let’s Get One Thing Straight’ with lifestyle coach and fitness instructor Michelle Jones, who shared with us her reasons for being single.

This week, we catch up with policy and research analyst, founder of Love your Skin Appreciate Your Melanin and law student Shari-Ann Henry.

Henry has been single for the past six months but says that the longest she has ever been without a partner is two years.

Having dated men of different nationalities, Henry said that she finds that many Jamaican men are out of touch with their emotional side and are, therefore, harder to connect with on a deep level.

“I dated a St Lucian, and I find that they are more loving than Jamaican men. I have friends who have dated men from other parts of the Caribbean, and they are just different from Jamaican men. There is just a different level of care and treatment. You don’t have to ask them to open a door. The level of respect is just different.”

As the founder of a movement that encourages individuals to love the skin the are in, Henry said that she has come across many Jamaican men who prefer their women to have a light complexion – by any means necessary.

“You have men who love their black-skinned women, but there are others who prefer the ‘browning’ and even women from other races. Eastern Caribbean men love Jamaican women, and that is why sometimes, women who are exposed to different cultures find better men for themselves when they travel.”

The young professional said that she is in no way bashing Jamaican men but that there is an indisputable fact that our men are cultured into thinking that showing emotions is a sign of weakness.

“I don’t think some of them have parents that raised them well. Some of them never grew up seeing a family functioning the way it should, so they cannot relate on certain levels.”

Henry said that a man who is of substance and is well rounded is an ideal man.

“For me it’s not even about how you look, but more so what is within – your brain, how you present yourself, what you have to bring to the table. I’m not going to date an ugly guy, really, but ‘handsome and hot body’ can’t be the only thing you have going for you. Don’t be too full of yourself either because that will never work for me.”

Henry believes that there is a misconception held by many men that women are too picky, that their ‘lists’ are unrealistic, but she said that this is necessary to sift through and find what works for them.

“Your list will be unrealistic to a man who does not have what it takes to be a good man. Some women are not even asking men to go the extra mile, but some will see certain things as a hard task ... . It is subjective for a man to say the list is long.”

There is a popular saying that good men are hard to find, and Henry is a firm believer in this mantra.

She said that it is not really that good men do not exist, but that many of them have already been unofficially paired with their future partners by their families.

“If you look at even uptown Jamaica, some names only marry a certain kind of people, and that is just the reality. Even in rural spaces, and the inner city where I am from, there is a level of classism. Some men from the community will never marry certain women.”

Henry said that she would initially date a man who did not present with all her ideals, but who was working on improving himself.

Settling down with someone in discomfort, just for the sake of being in a relationship, is not something that Henry sees herself ever doing.